WEB EXCLUSIVE: Vegetarian Lentils

Lentejas vegetarianas

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Serves 4

Spanish lentil stews are usually flavored with a little chorizo (spicy sausage) or pork fat, but this vegetable-only dish is just as flavorful—and suitable for everyone. I prefer to use the small, brown pardina lentils as they tend to keep their shape better, but the flat green variety also work fine.    

• 2 cups Spanish pardina lentils
• Water or vegetable stock, to cover
• 1 finely chopped onion
• 1 chopped zucchini
• 1 to 2 chopped carrots
• ½ diced red pepper
• 1 sliced leek
• 2 to 3 three ripe tomatoes (canned will do)
• 4 to 5 (or more) cloves of garlic
• 2 bay leaves
• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon mild paprika
• White wine vinegar, to taste                     

1. Soak lentils overnight.

2. Drain lentils. Place in large pan, cover with water or vegetable stock (a ratio of about 2:1 liquid to lentils). Add vegetables, tomatoes, garlic cloves, bay leaves and oil.

3. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat, add paprika and simmer for about 1 hour, or until lentils are tender.

4. Stir periodically and add water or stock if necessary. (I can’t tell you how many pots of lentils I’ve burned, so don’t get too far away.)

5. Season to taste.

6. Add a little vinegar on serving.

Serving suggestion: Top with small fried potatoes and serve with a tomato salad (the vitamin C helps you absorb the iron in the lentils).

Click here for the original article, Hip, Hip Ole for the Fresh Flavors of Spain: Herbs in Spanish Cuisine.